Feedback – Round 2

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Feedback … figure I would keep this topic going this week as I continue to develop an adequate system that gives the results I’m after. I moved on from Gradeable to a stopgap app on my mac, PDFpenPro. I have now moved on to a different app, Notability, which is available in the App Store.  Here is a screenshot.


You may be familiar with the iPad version, as it is great note-taking app. I have used it on my iPad and just discovered the recent release of the Mac version for my laptop. It presently has some limitations in comparison to the iPad version but used it to generate feedback the last two weeks and love it so far. Time is precious to a teacher and I need to improve the speed in generating these papers. I believe this extra effort on my part to fine tune and hone in this process will result in my students improving their achievement in mathematics. Time will tell of course. My dream tool would be to have a database designed to keep track of particular tags (mistakes and errors) as I markup the papers. Importing those papers into a database that has markup tools to annotate on while keeping track of all that data along the way to analyze later… May have to develop something like this in my free time…this could be doable.

Back to feedback.



Friday was the 2nd time of observation as I handed back their quiz papers. Again, overall pretty good conversations going on among them. As I mingled, one thing I noticed is that some students did not actually read the feedback. It’s one thing to look at red ink and another to actually read and understand it. I asked them what I put on their paper, and then they really read it for the first time. There seems to be this disease in the Jr. High age of students. If someone has an antidote or way to counteract this, please let me know. For now it seems my solution is to make sure to make my rounds of each group of students to ask them about their feedback. I may experiment with my 1st period and have them find their errors, redo those problems, and then come show me their solutions. If that works, then I may do that with my following periods.

Overall, the scores on their weekly SBG quizzes improved. The same minority few are still making the same mistakes. I realize this is an immediate benefit of providing feedback. I find myself looking much closer at each and every paper than I ever did before. “Wow, Kimberly is making the same mistake again. So is Jenna. Wonder how and when I can remediate this error right away with these students in order to get them to reach proficiency in this standard.” I am already thinking about their errors and devising a re-teach either incorporated in my next lesson(s) to address it or doing a pullout for those particular students. Maybe I should call this the “Response-to-Feedback” phenomena.

See you next week.






8 days a week.

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Whoa! Hold on. What a first 8 days of school. Totally buried and crazy with schedules and new students and …..So I figured I should take a time out to actually blog about these first days, as that is one of my goals for the year. Not sure where to start. If I don’t sit down and write about it now it will slip to another week. So maybe to start, let’s go to the grading and feedback.

I had high hopes to use technology for grading purposes with the main goal of providing timely feedback to my students. I prepared and planned to use Gradeable, an online service that promised to take scans of my student work, read them, and then allow me to grade them online in my browser. In my opinion, It is just not ready for prime time. At least for me. I scanned and uploaded over 300 papers and they could not be read by the Gradeable system. I had some discussions with their support but the fact was is that I was spending way too much time re-scanning and uploading than grading my student’s papers. Just not acceptable. Really could not wait around for the troubleshooting to take place. I needed to be in control so instituted plan B.

I took the scans and used an existing app I have on my Mac, PDFpenPro, and started marking up notes on the scans. Took me awhile to get into the groove but eventually this last weekend, I got them all graded with feedback. No grades were put on them. Grades were uploaded, along with the pdf of the quiz as evidence, into ActiveGrade for students to look at later today during class.

The important thing was yesterday during the beginning of class when I passed out their commented-on quizzes. Dialog between students went something like this:

“Oh wow, I knew I should have done that!”

“I thought I was suppose to……What did you do on yours?” Reply by student –“Let me show you how to do this” and proceeded to teach that student the particular skill.

“What did you do on yours?”

“Why did you that on number 3?”

“What’s my grade Mr. Rajewich? I don’t see my grade” – I just ignored this question.

To me it was music to my ears for those 5-7 minutes they were looking at their papers while I was mingling among the groups of students. This is what I hoped for.

I did not actually put a grade on the paper but put comments on those incorrect questions and left it to them to read and discuss among themselves. Very cool. I am happy with the start here. I am sure there is going to be some adaptation to this but a good start for now. Sorry Gradeable, but you need to work out the bugs. We’ll get together next year.

While discussion was going on among the students I got the great idea to put up the rubric on how I scored their paper and have them score their work. I then presented to the class the scoring rubric that they received on the first day. I went through each of the areas of scoring and we discussed the differences between them. I then asked the students to grade their papers and mark it on them.  This turned into a winner.  They actually had to grade their own paper based on my Rubric.

Today, we went into the computer lab to get them logged into ActiveGrade for the first time. They brought their quiz papers in and after getting them logged in, they took a look at their actual grades and compared with their own grading. Turned out pretty well.

I think this is good for a first blog post for the week.  I’m a rookie at this.  It is not easy for me to take this time to write something that happened in my week and I have done it. Hopefully I can keep it up. See you next week.